Gardening: Ways to get birds to flock to your feeders

Gardening: Ways to get birds to flock to your feeders

The varieties of bird feeders available are endless. While purchased feeders might be more aesthetically pleasing than ones made from recycled materials, the birds don’t seem to care

Making birdfeeders can be a fun family activity for those interested in the outdoors and or crafts. Just because a bird feeder is hung and filled with food doesn’t mean that the birds will visit. It depends on the landscape. Birds tend to go places that contain trees and shrubs which provides shelter. There is also a better chance of attracting birds if there are other feeders and trees in the neighborhood.

Start by finding a bird feeder that can be completed with as little adult intervention as possible. Choosing a feeder that matches the child’s skill level is essential for success. Do not expect the feeder to be perfect the birds do not care.

Feeders are either ground feeders or ones that hang.

Ground feeders can be as simple as a tray placed on the ground or attached to a pole that is 30- 45 cm (12-18 in) off the ground. It can be made of precut wood that the children nail together or a recycled plastic tray.A busy feeder will need the seed replaced on a regular basis.

Ground feeders are best placed in snow free areas such as under evergreens. They should be 3 m (3 ft) from shrubs making it nearly impossible for a cat to hide and pounce.

Simple hanging feeders can be made from plastic buckets, large pop bottles, milk jugs or large cans. They are of a similar design that has a perch for the bird to land and a hole for the bird to stick its head through to feed.

The easiest way to make a perch is to poke a hole in the front and back of the object and push the dowel through. Chances are that the dowel will not go through the center of the object but as long as it is under the feeding hole, it will work well.

The distance between the perch and hole will dictate what types of birds can feed. If the perch is close to the hole it will attract small birds as larger birds will not be able to perch and eat. Larger holes will allow more types of birds to access the seeds..

The holes must be large enough to allow a bird to stick its head in to eat. But not too large as it will allow seed to fall out when it is windy.

The higher the hole, the more feed he container will hold but if the hole is too high the bird will not be able to reach the feed when the seed level is low.

Sharp scissors usually work for cutting holes in plastic and cardboard containers. The softer the plastic the easier it will be to cut and the less chances there will be of sharp edges. X acto knives can be used by children but it will require more supervision.

Once the child has completed cutting the hole, check the edges and remove all sharp areas that could injure the birds.

Younger children that have trouble cutting plastic will be more successful using a cardboard milk carton. Do not expect the finished project will not last more than a season.

To hang a bird feeder attach a string around the top of the container or poke holes and thread the string through two holes on the top of the container. Before filling the feeder with seed, adjust the cord until the feeder hangs straight.

Hanging feeders sway when a bird lands. The movement is very slight for a small bird but it can swing rapidly when a large bird lands which usually causes them to fly away immediately.

Place the feeder in an area that it can be easily seen from the window as the bird’s antics can be entertaining. To avoid the bird hitting windows place the feeder either within 1 meter (3 ft) of the window or more than 4 m (13 m) away from the window..

Sunflowers seeds are the seed of choice for many birds in Central Alberta but other food such as Nygur, canola millet, corn and nuts will attract different varieties of birds. For more information look to books published by local author Myrna Pearman: NatureScape Alberta and Backyard Bird Feeding.

Linda Tomlinson is a horticulturalist that lives near Rocky Mountain House. She can be reached at your_garden@hotmail.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

City of Red Deer says its roundabouts have sharply reduced the number of injury collisions at a pair of busy intersections. Alberta Transportation wants to incorporate five roundabouts into plans to twin Highway 11 from Sylvan Lake to Rocky Mountain House. Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff
Highway 11 roundabouts will increase safety based on Red Deer’s experience

Injury collisions sharply reduced at roundabout intersections in city

As of Friday, Alberta has under 10,000 active COVID-19 cases. (Image courtesy CDC)
One new COVID-19 death in Red Deer, Alberta under 10,000 active cases

Alberta reported an additional 643 COVID-19 cases Friday. The province now has… Continue reading

About 110 students from Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools participated in March for Life rally in Edmonton May 9. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Red Deer high school has COVID-19 case

St. Joseph High School in Red Deer confirmed a positive COVID-19 case… Continue reading

Lacombe High School logo.
Two more COVID-19 cases at Lacombe Composite High School

Lacombe Composite High School confirmed two more positive COVID-19 cases at the… Continue reading

World Juniors’ referee Mike Langin makes a called during the Canada vs. Slovakia at the 2021 World Junior Championship at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Dec. 27, 2020. (Photo by Matthew Murnaghan/Hockey Canada)
Former Sylvan Lake man lives his dream at World Junior Championships

Mike Langin was one the 25 Canadian officials who worked during the tournament

Former Alberta Premier Rachel Notley shakes hands with Joel Ward, former Red Deer College President and CEO, as Notley announces that the college is on the path to grant degrees. Red Deer-South MLA Jason Stephan says university status is not a necessary condition for offering degrees. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Future of Red Deer University increasingly uncertain

MLA’s college update says RDC more like SAIT and NAIT than a university

There are two confirmed COVID-19 cases at Red Deer College. Photo by Mamta Lulla/Advocate staff
Central Albertans were promised a university

Central Albertans were promised a university

FILE - Baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron sits for a portrait after receiving his COVID-19 vaccination at the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, in this Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021, file photo. Hank Aaron, who endured racist threats with stoic dignity during his pursuit of Babe Ruth but went on to break the career home run record in the pre-steroids era, died early Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. He was 86. The Atlanta Braves said Aaron died peacefully in his sleep. No cause of death was given. (AP Photo/Ron Harris, File)
Hank Aaron, baseball’s one-time home run king, dies at 86

Hank Aaron, baseball’s one-time home run king, dies at 86

Miami Heat guard Duncan Robinson (55) passes the ball around Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet (23) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Jan. 22, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Powell, Raptors regroup after blowing lead, beat Heat 101-81

Powell, Raptors regroup after blowing lead, beat Heat 101-81

Tavares scores winner on power play, Leafs beat Oilers 4-2

Tavares scores winner on power play, Leafs beat Oilers 4-2

David Shoemaker, chief executive officer of the Canadian Olympic Committee, speaks during the Olympic Partnership kick off event at the Sobey's office in Mississauga, Ont. on Monday, October 7, 2019. Shoemaker says the IOC remains committed to staging the Summer Games in Tokyo this summer.THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin
Canada’s Olympic athletes try to tune out reports six months from Games

Canada’s Olympic athletes try to tune out reports six months from Games

Toronto FC captain Michael Bradley lifts the Voyageurs Cup after beating Vancouver Whitecaps 5-2 to win the Canadian Championship Final in Toronto on Wednesday, August 15, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Forge FC-Toronto FC Canadian Championship final to be played before April 6

Forge FC-Toronto FC Canadian Championship final to be played before April 6

Canada's Penny Oleksiak reacts after her heat of the women's 50m butterfly at the World Swimming Championships in Gwangju, South Korea, Friday, July 26, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Lee Jin-man
Penny Oleksiak, Kylie Masse among six swimmers named early to Canadian Olympic team

Penny Oleksiak, Kylie Masse among six swimmers named early to Canadian Olympic team

Ontario skip Glenn Howard watches a rock as they play Newfoundland and Labrador in draw 15 action at the Tim Hortons Brier curling championship at Mile One Centre in St. John's on Thursday, March 9, 2017. Curling Canada has decided to use the national ranking system as its selection criteria for the final wild-card berths at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts and Tim Hortons Brier.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Canadian rankings to be used to determine final wild-card spots at Scotties and Brier

Canadian rankings to be used to determine final wild-card spots at Scotties and Brier

Most Read